Fourth of July

Photographic Bang Bang.

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With the Fourth of July just 2 days away, what could be more fitting than something about fireworks. The video below shows artist Ross Sonnenberg creating some insanely great abstract photographs using one of his favorite secret ingredients. Fireworks. Sonnenburg uses a host of other tools to create the images, including  gel, sand and light, but the fireworks give it a special twist. The results are beautiful, intensely colored one of a kind photograms. Each image is a random chance experiment full of texture, color, line, and shapes all created without a camera.

“For my latest body of work entitled “The Big Bang”, I had become fascinated with the photogram. In my research artists such as Mariah Robertson, Susan Derges and especially Marco Breuer are doing work that I admire. I became intrigued by the possibilities of this photographic process. I thought to myself “What can I bring that maybe could be interesting to me?”

     My light source of choice would be fireworks of varying persuasions, combined with other materials. Interestingly, the images (Which were few and far between) were looking like fictional galaxies, with all their beautiful imperfections resembled our images of our real solar system, ironically created by the first Big Bang millions of years ago.”

From Sonnenberg’s website

Sonnenberg varies the scale of the images. He has two previous series that smaller scale works Color Bang. And Long Bang which is a series of larger scale works created with larger more powerful fireworks.

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Happy Fourth of July

Postcards from the early 20th century have always fascinated me. There is something about the stylistic quality of the illustration and design, but more over it’s usually the language or the message that is represented. The postcard below is from about 1910 I’m thinking. There was no date on it so it’s hard to tell, but the look Seems to say 1900 to maybe 1914. It is a cautionary message about the perils of the 4th that have been with us since the Chinese invented fireworks. It’s also an advertisement pitching “take a photo of your kid before he kills himself celebrating the birth of our nation”.

So here we are about 100 years later. Mom’s and Dad’s in places where fireworks are legal… bust out your camera and take a photo of your kid this morning before it’s too late. Happy Fourth of July!

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Who is Uncle Sam?

Uncle Sam is one of America’s most familiar icons, but most Americans have little to no idea of his origins. If asked most Americans will probably point to the early 20th century Army recruiting poster, which was actually borrowed from Britain. The final version of Uncle Sam that we are most familiar with today, came about in 1917. The famous “I Want You” recruiting poster by James Montgomery Flagg set the image of Uncle Sam firmly into American consciousness.

The reality is, that Uncle Sam dates back much further, with beginnings during the colonial period of the United States.

The actual figure of Uncle Sam, dates from the War of 1812 where the setting was ripe for a national icon. Before the War of 1812 most icons had been geographically specific with most centered on the New England area. The War of 1812 sparked a renewed interest in national identity which had faded in the years following the revolutionary war.

Like many mythological and symbolic figures, Uncle Sam has origins in actual fact and, in this case, an actual man. Born in Massachusetts, Samuel Wilson settled in the town of Troy, New York. Known locally as “Uncle” Sam, he would be the impetus for a regional saying which would eventually become a national icon.

Sam Wilson moved to Troy New York with his brother, Ebenezer, in the late 1700’s where they established a meat packing business. E. & S. Wilson acquired contracts for the U.S. Army as meat suppliers in 1812. The contract stated that all supplies be stamped with the manufacturers name and point of origin. Troy residents associated the “U.S.” on the sides of the barrels of troop rations with “Uncle Sam” — who they all knew was feeding the army.

The connection between this local saying and the national legend is not easily traced. As early as 1830, there were inquiries into the origin of the term “Uncle Sam,” which first appeared in print in 1813. The connection between the popular cartoon figure and Samuel Wilson of Troy, NY was reported in the New York Gazette on May 12, 1830, and later confirmed by Samuel Wilson’s great- and great-great-nephews.

By the early twentieth century, there was little physical resemblance left between Samuel Wilson and Uncle Sam. As a symbol of an ever-changing nation, Uncle Sam had gone through many incarnations. Initially cartoon versions of Sam were very familiar to those of Brother Jonathan. The Civil War saw a major transition in the development of Uncle Sam as his image was associated with that of Abraham Lincoln. It was during this period that Sam aged and acquired a beard.

Although there continue to be numerous variations on the image of Uncle Sam, the Flagg version from 1917 is now considered to be the go to standard from which all others deviate.

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How About Bourbon Cherry Seltzer’s for the 4th?

Nothing says patriotism like blowing things up while you consume alcoholic beverages. While beer is probably the number one choice of booze to drink on the Fourth of July, some of us might prefer something a bit different. Perhaps a Bourbon Cherry Seltzer. The recipe sounds more difficult than it is, and the results are definitely worth your time to make it.

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Mamma Mia That’s One Fancy BBQ Set.

Would you look at this, a fancy BBQ set designed by Italians, with metal made by Germans, and hopefully serving food to Americans on the Fourth of July. If it isn’t it should be. This stuff looks so nice I’m not sure I’d want to let it near my BBQ. The set is made from rust-resistant, brushed steel from Germany, and Indian Rosewood handles with an oiled finish. I love the clean lines, and minimalist aesthetic.

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Maserin’s BBQ set is made in much the same way as their folding kitchen knives. Blades are laser cut from a sheet of steel, then attached to a thick wire that forms the core of the handle, around which goes the rosewood handle.

The set is made by Maserin in Magiano, Italy,which is known as the “city of knives”. Maserin was founded in 1960 and began by making sporting knives. They are now considered among the world’s best. Their tradition of artisanal blacksmithing continues to embrace the latest technologies in blade-making. They’ve since expanded their collection to include everything from mushroom foraging knives to corkscrews, and now, a barbecue set to end all barbecue sets.

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These Facts are Barking Good.

This Thursday is July 4th, the 237th birthday of the United States. To help everyone in America Celebrate Cosmo and Zoe have compiled 10 little known facts about the Fourth for your reading pleasure.

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Happy Fourth of July. “Sports Afield” 1942

Here it is July 4th, and America is once again celebrating its birthday by blowing shit up and cooking out. As the heat crawls toward 102 degrees, my neighbors have already begun their drunken buffoonery combined with explosives and a lack of common sense. Perhaps today the Darwin award will be handed out on my street but I somehow doubt it.

Because it is the Fourth of July, I thought I’d post a semi patriotic image. Below is the July 1942 cover of “Sports Afield”, illustrated by Walter Haskell Hinton. This is one of a series of patriotic covers he illustrated furring the 1940’s. In this image he has juxtaposed a hunter with an 18th century War of Independence American soldier in buckskin. In the background Hinton has included the “V” for victory symbol enhancing the overall patriotic theme. The combination of the hunter and soldier suggests that the hunters’ marksmanship was as important skill for national defense in 1942 as it was in 1776, and that the right to bear arms continued to be an essential part of American patriotism.

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